It’s not often that you see a judge dragged out of a courtroom by the bailiff, but that’s exactly what happened recently in Cincinnati, Ohio. A former judge was being convicted of using her position to help a family member avoid charges, and the room full of her friends and family was not having it.
Tracie Hunter was a juvenile court judge until 2014, when she was convicted and given a six-month sentence for unethically passing information to her brother regarding one of his job disputes. The first judge in her case gave her the six-month sentence, but Hunter decided to fight it, and has been doing so for six long years.
Reportedly, the former judge’s brother, Stephen Hunter, was going to be fired from his job in youth corrections after being accused of assaulting a juvenile offender. Tracie Hunter illegally shared information about the young offender with her brother, to help him keep his job.
Her actions ultimately failed, as Stephen Hunter was still fired from his position.
Though Tracie Hunter was originally sentenced to six months in prison, the day her sentence was to start had been delayed multiple times until July of 2019, when Judge Dinkelacker mandated she begin her sentence immediately.
The former judge has maintained her innocence throughout the lengthy appeals process, telling local news outlet WLWT the following:
“I did not violate any laws, nor did I secure a public contract. I didn’t do anything to keep the employment of my brother secure. Indeed, he had worked for the court for seven years before I was even elected as a judge. They should drop these ridiculous charges immediately. I believe they are extremely unrighteous and unlawful.”
Throughout the trial, Judge Dinkelacker noted the large amount of postcards he received begging him to exonerate Tracie Hunter, including one from the Mayor of Cincinnati John Cranley.
When he announced that her sentence would begin immediately, and told the bailiff to take Hunter into custody, the courtroom erupted. One woman appeared to try to attack the bailiffs.
Tracie Hunter refused to cooperate with the bailiffs, and was literally dragged out of the courtroom.
According to the Cincinnati Business Courier, “Hunter, a Democrat, was sentenced to six months in jail, but Sheriff Jim Neil said she would be released early because of her participation in a court-authorized work detail that she began Aug. 12. Neil, a Democrat, said it’s his office’s policy to apply credit to a jail sentence in such circumstances.”
Apparently, Tracie Hunter earned credit for early release by ministering to other inmates. For each day that she served as a minister, she was able to have three days deducted from her sentence.